Helpful ReplySouth Jersey Field Reports

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phlmaestro
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2019/07/05 19:00:32 (permalink)

South Jersey Field Reports

I've lived close to Southern New Jersey my entire life, but other than my first 6-7 years, when my great-grandparents had a summer place in Atlantic City during the pre-gambling era, I've spend very little time across the river other than driving through on my way to New York or other points up north. 
 
But thanks to a couple articles in the local media in the past year or two, I started to become more away of the fairly large number of unheralded food stands and restaurants that fit in beautifully on this web site. I don't know how often I'll get over there, but I've decided to at least try to start making an effort to get to some of these places and I started today, with more on the way tomorrow.  If I get to more places later this year or in subsequent years, I'll add them to this same thread.
 
The only place south of Central Jersey in the Roadfood guidebook is White House Subs. There are a handful of other South Jersey reviews on here, but it's largely overlooked in favor of Northern Jersey, with all of those hot dog places. 
 
I started my exploration today with a place called Henri's Hotts on the Old Black Horse Pike in Folsom, NJ, which I mentioned on here fairly recently on a thread about New Jersey barbecue (they were on a list of NJ barbecue joints that I posted). I think I first became aware of Henri's when the restaurant critic at my paper mentioned it a couple times, with his focus being on their weekend buffet, when most of their menu is available on an all-you-can eat basis for a very  good price. That's available for dinner Friday and all weekend. We got there too early for the buffet today, but we did get a nice sampling of food from the menu.  Henri's is not strictly a barbecue place. They also have soul food, with fried chicken and fish as well as an array of sides. It almost a little like a cross between barbecue and meat and two. 
 

Don't worry. They also have an indoor restroom.


They aren't kidding. The meal took about two hours. It was not fast dining. But I was with several retired friends and I had the day off, so we were in no hurry.
 
They have sports memorabilia all over the place.


It's tough to make them out in the above photo, but there are buffet tables with empty trays on the right side in the next room.
 




 
During the fairly long wait for our meals, we were given good squares of corn bread, which were moist and somewhat sweet.

 
 One friend went with a salad, as he is staying down the shore and has dinner plans tonight. The other three of us decided to sample different things. So I ordered a rib platter, one friend ordered fried chicken and the third ordered brisket. We all had some of each.



I should have taken a better close-up shot of the brisket, which is the bottom of the three photos. We all agreed that the ribs were the best of the three. They were maybe a little more at the fall-off-the-bone stage than I prefer, but they had nice flavor and tender meat.
The fried chicken, while not as flavor packed as good fried chicken in the South, was still enjoyable.  The brisket was inconsistent. It was sliced fairly thin. Some of the slices were dry, while others were very soft and had a nice, smoky, but not too smoky flavor. I enjoyed the baked beans very much. I tried a hush puppy and thought it was too dry.
 
 
Henri is a very nice man. He was our server and told us he lives in Philly and commutes there. I wouldn't hesitate to return to his restaurant, hopefully some time when the buffet is available.
 
One of the roadfood specialties of South Jersey is seasonal ice cream stands. There are a lot of them to choose from, many that offer what they call frozen custard. But they use the term interchangeably with soft serve.
 
As we made our way to the place I chose, which is closer to Philadelphia than Herni's, we passed by another place I have been thinking about going to for a while: Mr. Bill's in Hammonton, NJ. They are an interesting place. In addition to the roadside giant holding their sign in the parking lot, they have a menu that includes not only burgers, hot dogs, ice cream, and cheesesteaks, but they also have Jewish deli, and the photos I've seen of corned beef and pastrami sandwiches there look very good. I almost decided to go there for our meal today instead of Henri's. I would have sampled the deli and had ice cream. Maybe I'll get there later this year or next year.

 
The place we wound up going to was in Blackwood, NJ.





I decided to try lemon soft-serve with chocolate jimmies (aka sprinkles). I have to say I barely detected any lemon flavor. The texture was good; fairly dense for soft serve. But the flavor was relatively neutral. My friends had a cappuccino-chip cone and butter-pecan topped with crushed cherries (an interesting combination that would never occur to me).



 
That's it for today. I've got another place lined up for another part of South Jersey tomorrow.
 
#1
phlmaestro
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Re: South Jersey Field Reports 2019/07/06 19:04:47 (permalink)
I headed back to South Jersey today. This time, I went to Carney's Point, NJ, which is across the Delaware River from Wilmington, DE. The stop was Lapp's Olympia Dairy Bar, which is on US-40, the National Road.
 
I had tried going to Lapp's around December, but they were closed for the season. I resolved to give it another shot when the weather got warmer, and today was the day.  This place is a real classic. It's right up my alley, with good burgers and shakes and a very old-school atmosphere, with a counter and several tables inside, as well as outdoor window service for people who only want ice cream.
 




 
A monster shake at Lapp's is 44 ounces. There was no way I was getting that. I wound up settling for a regular peanut butter shake, and given how thick and difficult to suck up through a straw it was, I made the right choice. It was an extremely good shake. My brother-in-law got a large Cappuccino shake.

 
My wife, brother-in-law and I each went our own way in terms of our food orders. I had a cheeseburger, my wife had the pulled pork sandwich, and my brother-in-law ordered a foot-long hot dog, which he topped off with some of my wife's pulled pork. We shared fries. 







 
 
None of us had any complaints. My burger, which was a third-pound of fresh beef, was juicy and had a nice, pure beefy flavor. I tried my wife's pulled pork and I could taste the smoke.
 
I enjoyed this place so much that I just can't wait to go back.
 
 
post edited by phlmaestro - 2019/07/06 19:41:55
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Wintahaba
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Re: South Jersey Field Reports 2019/07/07 13:31:27 (permalink)
Love it...more to come I hope.
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leethebard
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Re: South Jersey Field Reports 2019/07/07 14:02:07 (permalink)
Looking forward to more from the not given enough credit food area of the Mid Atlantic states!!
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phlmaestro
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Re: South Jersey Field Reports 2019/07/07 15:38:27 (permalink)
Thank you. I definitely would like to add more South Jersey places to this thread, but I can't say it will happen real soon. Hopefully I'll get over there at least one more time. I need to get to that Mr. Bill's at some point.
 
In the meantime, anyone else who wants to write about a place in South Jersey is welcome to do it on here.
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annepr
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Re: South Jersey Field Reports 2019/07/07 16:23:41 (permalink)
Love your trip reports - vicarious eating! Thanks for doing them.
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ScreamingChicken
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Re: South Jersey Field Reports 2019/07/07 18:06:54 (permalink)
Nice work, Maestro...looks like you went a solid 3-for-3!
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phlmaestro
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Re: South Jersey Field Reports 2019/07/07 20:23:47 (permalink)
Thanks again! 
 
On going 3-for-3, I was kind of disappointed with the ice cream the first day because of lack of flavor. I chose that place in part because it had covered benches. There was rain in the forecast (it actually stopped shortly before we got there) and one of my companions has a bad knee and can't stand long. I was initially considering a place near there called the Custard Shack, but it looked like they had no seating or cover in the photos. I also toyed with stopping at Mr. Bill's for ice cream, but I decided I needed more of a break. Mr. Bill's and Henri's Hotts are fairly close to each other.
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ScreamingChicken
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Re: South Jersey Field Reports 2019/07/07 20:36:39 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby phlmaestro 2019/07/07 20:50:59
phlmaestro
On going 3-for-3, I was kind of disappointed with the ice cream the first day because of lack of flavor.

2 hard liners and a flare that drops in all look the same in the box score.
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leethebard
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Re: South Jersey Field Reports 2019/07/07 20:39:18 (permalink)
phlmaestro
Thanks again! 
 
On going 3-for-3, I was kind of disappointed with the ice cream the first day because of lack of flavor. I chose that place in part because it had covered benches. There was rain in the forecast (it actually stopped shortly before we got there) and one of my companions has a bad knee and can't stand long. I was initially considering a place near there called the Custard Shack, but it looked like they had no seating or cover in the photos. I also toyed with stopping at Mr. Bill's for ice cream, but I decided I needed more of a break. Mr. Bill's and Henri's Hotts are fairly close to each other.


Hit any Kohr's Custard stand on any main Jersey boardwalk!
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phlmaestro
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Re: South Jersey Field Reports 2019/07/07 20:55:29 (permalink)
leethebard
 
Hit any Kohr's Custard stand on any main Jersey boardwalk!



That's a great suggestion. I think the last time I went to a New Jersey boardwalk, Kohr's was one of my stops. That was over a decade ago and it was in Seaside Heights. I went with a friend just to walk the boards and eat food for a couple hours. We also had pizza at Maruca's ( https://roadfood.com/restaurants/marucas-tomato-pies ) and a cheeseteak at Midway ( https://roadfood.com/rest.rants/midway-steak-house ). 
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leethebard
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Re: South Jersey Field Reports 2019/07/07 21:13:37 (permalink)
phlmaestro
leethebard
 
Hit any Kohr's Custard stand on any main Jersey boardwalk!



That's a great suggestion. I think the last time I went to a New Jersey boardwalk, Kohr's was one of my stops. That was over a decade ago and it was in Seaside Heights. I went with a friend just to walk the boards and eat food for a couple hours. We also had pizza at Maruca's ( https://roadfood.com/restaurants/marucas-tomato-pies ) and a cheeseteak at Midway ( https://roadfood.com/rest.rants/midway-steak-house ). 


Yes.Yes...Maruca's and Midway (I'd recommend a sausage sandwich) are real, honest, true South Jersey food!! I often see that Maruca's pizza swirl in my sleep!
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phlmaestro
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Re: South Jersey Field Reports 2019/07/08 12:13:09 (permalink)
Speaking of the Shore, does anyone else remember Captain Starn's in Atlantic City? We would go there maybe once or twice a summer during those Atlantic City visits in the late 60s and early 70s. It was a massive seafood restaurant. I also remember the sea lion pen and buying little paper trays of raw fish to throw down to the sea lions while they made lots of noise in anticipation of their next bite. I would guess it closed before the end of the 70s, but I'm not sure.
 
I found this description of Captain Starn's on a site with information about the history of the Atlantic City inlet. The photo is from the Captain Starn's Facebook page:
 
"On June 26, 1940 Captain Starn opened the Captain Starn’s Restaurant and Boating Center. At its peak the center had a capacity of 750 diners, served 2000 meals a day, and employed over 200 people in the summer months. Its attractions included everything from a line of speed boats titled “Miss Atlantic City,” sailboats, fishing charters, a live dolphin and sea lion pen, and even a sea-plane. Starn also had a boat supply shop, fish market, and packing house to process the daily haul from his fleet. Captain Starn’s nephew Clarence “Skeetz” Apel reported that their sea touring business “ran a million people up and down the beach front each year.”  "

post edited by phlmaestro - 2019/07/08 12:42:53
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